Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Breast cancer awareness month: Humour hibernation

Author: Nicola H 

Last year during #BCAM (Breast Cancer Awareness Month) I was very aware of cancer. I was still stiff and sore following my Axillary Node Clearance surgery on 19th August and I was imminently about to start chemotherapy treatment. 

I never realised how annoying the pinkwashing of October could be until it was referring to me. The words Brave, Warrior, Soldier never made me vexed pre July 2014. These words imply that somebody has a choice in their “battle”. I by no means chose to have breast cancer. All I chose was the way it allowed it to affect me. I would rather use the word stubborn to describe my approach. I had cancer, it never had me. 

Cancer took my eyebrows, eyelashes and every other hair on my body but it was not getting my sense of humour. 

I made inappropriate jokes all through my treatment, it was my way of coping. However I think that all paled in comparison to how very inappropriate some of the “awareness” campaigns during October can be. The silly Facebook games where you change your status raise no awareness whatsoever. The wearing of pink doesn’t make you dash off and check yourself in the mirror for noticeable changes. What raises awareness is knowing the signs of breast cancer to look out for. Awareness is knowing about websites and resources such as Cancer Research UK, Breast Cancer Care, Breast Cancer Now and Macmillan where you can get support if you think you may have cancer. Awareness is knowing about stage IV metastatic cancer and that this is the only type of breast cancer that kills you and is incurable.

Please don’t think that I have lost my sense of humour after breast cancer, because I haven’t, but please be aware that during this month of perfect women flashing their bra straps or painting their perfect bodies pink for “charity” then bitching about how self-conscious they are about their boobs, my sense of humour may just go into hibernation until November.

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Write for the blog! This blog is one of a series being shared on the Young Women's Breast Cancer Blog UK during October, breast cancer awareness month, but the blog is here year round. If you are a young woman in the UK who has/had a breast cancer diagnosis and you would like to be a part of this blog, please have a read of the additional information here.

Check your breasts
Breast cancer can happen to any of us - regardless of age. Information about how to check your breasts can be found on the Coppafeel and Breast Cancer Now websites.
Further information and support:
Younger Breast Cancer Network UK - an online chat and support group for women under the age of 45 in the UK who have had a breast cancer diagnosis.
Baldly Beautiful - a YouTube channel with make up demonstrations, created by Mac makeup artist Andrea Pellegrini who went through chemo herself in 2014.
Take A Moment - This is a group for women (all ages) who have/had breast cancer who want to explore, reflect on and express their feelings and experiences through photography. This is a link to the public page - to join the group, send them a message.
The Osborne Trust - Providing children of parents with cancer the opportunity to access time out recreational activities whilst their parents undergo operations and treatments
Jen's Friends - Free heart-shaped pillows for women (and men) with Breast Cancer. Designed to provide comfort and protection after a Mastectomy operation.

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